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Harrowing photo of drowned father and daughter shows peril migrants face at southern US border

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Harrowing photo of drowned father and daughter shows peril migrants face at southern US border
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Reuters via Julia Le Duc
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A single image has captured the shocking reality of the migration crisis at America's southern border.

The photograph shows Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria lying face down in shallow water in the Rio Grande.

The infant's arm is draped around her father, under his shirt, which gives the impression she clung to him in her final moments

The harrowing picture was taken by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada on Monday.

According to the journalist, Martínez Ramírez, hailing from El Salvador, was frustrated because his family was unable to present themselves to US authorities in order to request asylum, so he attempted to swim across the river on Sunday with his daughter to try and reach Texas.

He set Valeria on the US bank of the river and went back for his wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, but seeing her dad move away, the girl threw herself into the water.

Martínez returned and was able to grab his daughter, but the current swept them both away, according to remarks by the wife to police— Le Duc told The Associated Press.

The image has been compared to the photo of the Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, who drowned off the Greek island off Kos in 2015. His photo shocked the world and was used to highlight the plight of the Syrian migrant crisis.

“Very regrettable that this would happen,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told AP on Tuesday. “We have always denounced that as there is more rejection in the United States, there are people who lose their lives in the desert or crossing the river," he added.

The Trump administration has cracked down on immigration and has drastically reduced the number of migrants who are allowed to claim asylum in the country.

Last week a shelter director said only around 40 to 45 asylum interviews were being conducted in Matamoros, Mexico, each week and around 800-1,700 names were on a waiting list, AP reported.

The US has also expanded a program that makes asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their claims are considered, which can take years to process.

And journalist Hannane Ferdjani told Euronews Now that the Democrats are pushing for an emergency $4.5 billion fund to ease the border situation.

Watch the interview in the video player above.